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  • Travel between alternate timelines

    My chronicle has had history changed for reasons involving an akuma, an ethership that folds time and space around it, and the Skull of Caine. The result is several alternate timelines.

    My players are now at the point where they want to travel between these time-space dimensions, and there's been some debate about exactly how this can be done. Metaphysically, each timeline is a complete World of Darkness, with umbras, horizon realms, and the whole shebang.

    If you were to plan to travel to another such timeline, how would you do it?


    Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

  • #2
    The entirety of the revised Sons of Ether book is set on the backdrop of this very subject, they do it very smartly I might add.

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    • #3
      Also, M20 talks (briefly) about Everett Volumes.


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      • #4
        Personally, I'd make access to Everett Volumes a function of Time. The number of successes needed should depend on how different the destination is from the timeline that you're in; but travel to an Everett Volume should be easier than travel to the past.

        In fact, of you go with something along the lines of the Avengers: Endgame model of time travel, travel to the past is essentially replaced by travel to an Everett Volume that differs in that you appeared out of nowhere in the past one day.

        Lower-Sphere navigation of the timelines would amount to moving into the past to a divergence point, then using the precognitive abilities of the Time Sphere to jump forward along the timeline of your choosing. Higher-Sphere navigation would lump all of that together into a single “cross-time” maneuver. And the highest levels allow for actually making changes to a timeline instead of spawning an Everett Volume.


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        • #5
          I've been thinking about points-of-divergence (POD) and points-of-convergence (POC) as key to travel between Everett Volumes. PODs are where a timeline splits, and by travelling back to that point (or generating one in the here/now) one can move from one to another. POCs are key events that happen in more than one timeline, causing them to "touch" for a moment. I'm picturing Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Grand Duke Ferdinand as a POC -- events in two timelines lead to the same point and anyone there who has the ability to step over to another timeline may do so.

          Here's what I've got on my drawing board:
          • Time 5 allows for time travel (back and forth).
          • Time 5/Spirit 3 for jumping laterally (stepping sideways) from one timeline to another.
          • Entropy 2 to follow a chain of events to a POD.
          • Either Time 3, Spirit 3, or Entropy 3 to choose a timeline moving away from a POD or a POC.
          Does this make sense? Am I overthinking it? Underthinking it?


          Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nitromidas View Post
            I've been thinking about points-of-divergence (POD) and points-of-convergence (POC) as key to travel between Everett Volumes. PODs are where a timeline splits, and by travelling back to that point (or generating one in the here/now) one can move from one to another. POCs are key events that happen in more than one timeline, causing them to "touch" for a moment. I'm picturing Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Grand Duke Ferdinand as a POC -- events in two timelines lead to the same point and anyone there who has the ability to step over to another timeline may do so.

            Here's what I've got on my drawing board:
            • Time 5 allows for time travel (back and forth).
            • Time 5/Spirit 3 for jumping laterally (stepping sideways) from one timeline to another.
            • Entropy 2 to follow a chain of events to a POD.
            • Either Time 3, Spirit 3, or Entropy 3 to choose a timeline moving away from a POD or a POC.
            Does this make sense? Am I overthinking it? Underthinking it?
            I really like this idea.


            “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her.

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            • #7
              So, this leads me to some setting questions - would the Cult of Ecstasy have a wide variety of lore concerning time travel? As the current version of the Seers of Chronos, I think they would, with entirely holistic methods of travelling to alternate times (dancing, drug use, meditation, performance rites) that would enable Mages to visit alternate time lines either in dreams or physically. I would imagine that the Code of Ananda has some exceedingly rigorous time travel ethics.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robert Armsley View Post
                <snip>
                The cultists have actually not been tapped yet, but a big part of the plot is that only a very few are aware of the different timelines. There are a few who have tried to figure out what's going on, but apart from the PCs (who were there when the Anomaly happened) and a handful of Masters, most mages believe time is time. At least for now.

                The big reason for this is that I don't want the story to devolve into a crazy metachronological dimension war. It is already more than enough to keep straight as it is


                Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

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                • #9
                  Time needs some buffing as it currently stands. That's one reason why I wouldn't require Spirit to access Everett Volumes; just Time, and appropriate PODs and POCs. Another reason is that Everett Volumes have nothing to do with the Umbra; in that regard, I see navigating them as being more akin to using Data or Correspondence to access and navigate the Digital Web.

                  The existing rules for Time Magick frankly assume that messing with the timestream is something that Storytellers generally shouldn't permit. And frankly, I can see how the ability to change a single timeline could be abused; which is why I tend to agree that traveling into your own past, or viewing and altering the future, should be difficult and frought with peril. But when you allow for multiple timelines, those concerns are drastically diminished; which is why I think it should be easier, not harder, to travel to an Everett Volume that diverges from your past than it is to travel to your actual past: you don't have to deal with time loops that way.

                  But with that said:

                  Checking the Enlightened Grimoire (Storyteller's Vault product, and a very worthwhile buy), p.146 cites Quantum Temporal Travel, which originated in the Sons of Ether (Revised, page 63): this Effect involves access to Everett Volumes, requires Time 3 or 5 (for short or long hops), Correspondence 3 or 4 (for one person or a group), and Entropy 4 (to visit alternate timelines instead of staying within the same one); and the number of successes corresponds with how different the alternate timeline is.

                  So that's the canonical way to do it.

                  But again, I don't agree with the canonical way to do it; I think it should all be doable just with Time, a proper Focus, and enough successes.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nitromidas View Post

                    The cultists have actually not been tapped yet, but a big part of the plot is that only a very few are aware of the different timelines. There are a few who have tried to figure out what's going on, but apart from the PCs (who were there when the Anomaly happened) and a handful of Masters, most mages believe time is time. At least for now.

                    The big reason for this is that I don't want the story to devolve into a crazy metachronological dimension war. It is already more than enough to keep straight as it is
                    My view here is that alternate timelines are a relatively recent discovery, and one that was made by the Technocracy (probably the Void Engineers). It should date to no earlier than the end of the 19th century, coinciding with H.G.Wells' The Time Machine, and may well be something that took a few decades to figure out: I'd actually put the beginning of the cross-time exploration in the mid-20th century, with Hugh Everett (after whom the Everett Volumes are named), or even later. Even with Enlightened Science, it takes some time to get the requisite technology up and running. Among the Traditions, the Society of Ether is the only one that's seriously explored the Everett Volumes. And even today, Everett Volumes are essentially a new frontier.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post

                      My view here is that alternate timelines are a relatively recent discovery, and one that was made by the Technocracy (probably the Void Engineers). It should date to no earlier than the end of the 19th century, coinciding with H.G.Wells' The Time Machine, and may well be something that took a few decades to figure out: I'd actually put the beginning of the cross-time exploration in the mid-20th century, with Hugh Everett (after whom the Everett Volumes are named), or even later. Even with Enlightened Science, it takes some time to get the requisite technology up and running. Among the Traditions, the Society of Ether is the only one that's seriously explored the Everett Volumes. And even today, Everett Volumes are essentially a new frontier.
                      Current year is 1938, and the oldest alternate timeline has been mapped back to at least 1204 CE. The SoE are indeed involved, with a French Etherist from the first half of 19th century being a much ridiculed pioneer. He was booed off the podium when he presented his thesis to the Grand Symposium in 1835. Still, his papers on deep-oneiromantic chronometry have informed much of the current understanding of the multiverse. Only too bad his entire Prague lab blew up in 1842 in a massive paradox backlash, destroying much of his work.


                      Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

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                      • #12
                        He wasn't an Etherite; he was an Electrodyne Engineer. The Etherites didn't leave the Union until the very beginning of the 20th century.

                        Unless, of course, he comes from an alternate timeline where the Sons of Ether left the Union much earlier…

                        Also bear in mind that the Technocracy didn't exist before 1850 or so.
                        Last edited by Dataweaver; 11-03-2020, 03:11 PM.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                          He wasn't an Etherite; he was an Electrodyne Engineer. The Etherites didn't leave the Union until the very beginning of the 20th century.

                          Unless, of course, he comes from an alternate timeline where the Sons of Ether left the Union much earlier…

                          Also bear in mind that the Technocracy didn't exist before 1850 or so.

                          Correct on all accounts. In the timeline he was active, the SoE left according to canon.
                          Last edited by Nitromidas; 11-03-2020, 03:18 PM.


                          Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

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                          • #14
                            This takes guts. I had planned Time 4 loops and anchor points tied to events with individual Sleeper characters in my chronicle. An enemy Mage creates proxy-traps using Time Magick to ensnare Mage player-characters. I try to limit the variables to binary choices happening in the span of a few weeks. Calculating all the ripples and loops is... doable.

                            Storytelling subtle differences between many Everett Volumes is high art. How does one seemingly insignificant person never meeting another change a city? I think it would require a lot of "winging it". That often makes for the best campaigns. Make the players' choice as to which parallel reality to visit a whole session with the destination fleshed out by the start of the next.

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                            • #15
                              Question from the unenlightened: What are Everett Volumes? Are they the same as Mirror Zones, or are they "set" in "the" past relative to the traveller's "present"?

                              I ask because Werewolf has both the Mirror Zone, and the seemingly-different Temporal Zone which is where non-Mokole Umbral "time travellers" generally go when they try to alter "the past".


                              She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                              My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                              Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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